Tech giants battle to establish their place in smart home revolution
It seems like it won’t be long before our homes and gadgets are running our lives for us, and technology innovators are looking to take advantage of this inevitable progression in the fight to corner the smart home market.
It's long been the stuff of science fiction, but tech giants hope the "smart home," where gadgets talk to each other and the fridge orders the milk, will soon become reality.
The futuristic vision of wireless domestic bliss that puts people and their smartphones or tablets at the centre of an "Internet of Things" is a key theme at this year's IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin.
Industry titans such as Google, Samsung and Apple have been battling for an early lead in the race to create the Internet-connected household, a market they expect to grow into the next multi-billion-dollar tech revolution.
The smart home is heading "towards a mass-market reality", said Lisa Arrowsmith of market research firm IHS.
The new driving force, she said, is "the rise of the smartphone and its role as a common user interface to allow remote and in-home control of devices such as thermostats, smart plugs or security systems".
Talk of creating the "automated home" has been around since at least the 1980s, but was hobbled by technical hurdles, from tangled cables to costly interfaces and compatibility problems between appliance manufacturers.
Now the dream is back with a vengeance as companies foresee a world of synced devices, where motorists remotely switch on the heating as they drive home, and holidaymakers watch over their